Fungal Degradation

Group leader: Birgitte Andersen

Filamentous fungi play an important role in nature by recycling plant material and in industry as the source of food additives and pharmaceuticals. They can be utilized in production of green chemicals and in waste management. But filamentous fungi also kill crop plants, spoil food products and decay manmade materials and artifacts.


Our group conducts basic and applied research in fungal degradation - both unwanted and by design. The purpose of our research is two-fold: 1) to prevent fungal growth, mycotoxin production and dispersal in indoor environments and in food/feed production and 2) to control fungal growth and decomposition of waste products for sustainable recycling into new materials.


Our main focus is on allergenic and mycotoxigenic fungal genera, such as Chaetomium, Cladosporium and Stachybotrys, from the indoor environment and food-borne genera like Alternaria, Aspergillus and Penicillium.


Our current research areas and activities:

  • We collect and characterize fungal biodiversity in natural habitats and manmade environments.
  • We describe new fungal taxa, new metabolites and emerging mycotoxins.
  • We identify fungal strains by using a combination of classic morphology, metabolite profiling and molecular sequencing and integrate them in the IBT Fungal Collection for future research projects.
  • We study the external parameters that govern germination, growth and sporulation and facilitate volatile, mycotoxin and micro-particle production.
  • We analyze fungal growth potential of food and feed products, building materials and other manmade materials with respect to pH, temperature, nutrient and water content.
  • We collaborate with national and international researchers on metagenomics and barcoding of food-borne and indoor fungi.


Collaborations with industry:

We also do research and development projects with private companies and provide further education courses in food and indoor mycology for people in both the private and the public sector.





Birgitte Andersen
Associate Professor
DTU Bioengineering
+45 45 25 27 26